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  • Writer's pictureHeather Keenan, LCSW

How Low Self-Esteem Can Impact Your Relationship

A man with Low Self-Esteem

Do you find yourself doubting and questioning if your partner truly loves you? Do you find yourself anxious that your partner may decide one day that they don’t want to be in the relationship anymore?

Quite often, people find their true self-esteem and self-worth get brought up when they are in a vulnerable and intimate relationship. When you have high self-esteem, you are more likely to feel secure in your relationship. On the contrary, when we have low self-worth, we tend to feel insecure in our relationship.

There are a variety of ways that low self-esteem can impact your relationship. Here are a few of them:

Heightened Anxiety:

Anxiety is frequently triggered within a relationship when we are struggling with our self-esteem. If we are feeling unworthy or not good enough, we may question why our partner is choosing to be with us. Our thoughts may become preoccupied with the fear of our partner realizing our unworthiness and ultimately leaving us.

Since our brain finds evidence for what we believe to be true, we can even start to overthink certain behaviors or statements our partner makes and perceive it through the lens of not being good enough.

Self- Sabotage:

Self-sabotage tends to happen when our circumstances supersede what we believe we deserve. If we are feeling unworthy but have a healthy and happy relationship, a fear of the relationship ending may be triggered.

Our brain is all about keeping ourselves safe and sometimes that means we end up sabotaging something that is positive in our lives. If we sabotage the relationship, our brain at least feels in control and it also validates our original belief system of, “I’m not good enough”. Even though we know that low self-esteem does not serve us, our brain is comfortable in it since that is all it knows!

Projection Onto Your Partner:

Low self-esteem and anxiety often gets projected onto our partner. This can come out as heightened irritability and arguments. We find it is “easier” to be angry or irritable toward another person than it is to sit with our unworthiness and negative self-talk. Projection onto our partner can also go hand-in-hand with self-sabotage.

Allowing Toxic Behaviors:

When we explore what we do and don’t deserve in our lives, it is greatly impacted by how worthy we feel. If we have a healthy and positive self-worth, we demand what we feel we deserve. With a poor self-worth, we may find ourselves allowing toxic behaviors because we do not feel we deserve more. We tend to settle because we feel, “This is all I will get”.

Lack of Boundaries:

If we do not feel worthy as a human, we do not feel worthy of getting our needs met. We don’t feel confident to speak up regarding our boundaries, feelings, and needs. Low self-worth frequently comes with people-pleasing tendencies. We find that other people’s needs and feelings are more important than ours.

You deserve to live a life with fulfillment and positive self-worth.

If you are struggling with low self-esteem and noticing the impact it has on your relationship, therapy may be the next step for you. Your therapist will assist you in identifying contributing factors to your low self-esteem and help guide you to developing a positive self-talk and improved self-esteem.

I provide counseling for adults at our beautiful office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information on my approach to counseling or EMDR therapy, click here.

I also provide counseling via our secure telehealth platform for those who reside in the state of Florida.

If you’re ready to get started with your complimentary consultation, give me a call at 954-391-5305.

I look forward to speaking with you and helping you live your best life!


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